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Trust in Private and Common Property Experiments

  • James C. Cox
  • Elinor Ostrom
  • James M. Walker
  • Jamie Castillo
  • Eric Coleman
  • Robert Holahan
  • Michael Schoon
  • Brian Steed

We report the results from a series of experiments designed to investigate behavior in two settings that are frequently posited in the policy literature as generating different outcomes: private property and common property. The experimental settings closely parallel earlier experimental studies of the investment or trust game. The primary research question relates to the effect of the initial allocation of property rights on the level of trust that subjects will extend to others with whom they are linked. We find that assigning the initial endowments as common property of each of N pairs of a first mover and second mover leads to marginally greater cooperation or trust than when the initial endowments are fully owned by the two individual movers as their, respective, private property. Subjectsâ?? decisions are also shown to be correlated with attitudes toward trust and fairness that are measured in post-experiment questionnaires.

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File URL: http://excen.gsu.edu/workingpapers/GSU_EXCEN_WP_2007-11.pdf
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Paper provided by Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University in its series Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series with number 2007-11.

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Length: 28
Date of creation: Nov 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:exc:wpaper:2007-11
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Web page: http://excen.gsu.edu/

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  1. James C. Cox & Daniel Friedman & Steven Gjerstad, 2006. "A Tractable Model of Reciprocity and Fairness," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2006-05, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  2. M. Rabin, 2001. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 511, David K. Levine.
  3. Jacobsen, Eva & Abdolkarim Sadrieh, 1996. "Experimental Proof for the Motivational Importance of Reciprocity," Discussion Paper Serie B 386, University of Bonn, Germany.
  4. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory Of Fairness, Competition, And Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868, August.
  5. Willinger, Marc & Keser, Claudia & Lohmann, Christopher & Usunier, Jean-Claude, 2003. "A comparison of trust and reciprocity between France and Germany: Experimental investigation based on the investment game," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 447-466, August.
  6. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
  7. Nava Ashraf & Iris Bohnet & Nikita Piankov, 2006. "Decomposing trust and trustworthiness," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 193-208, September.
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